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Friendships across the sexes appeal to different kinds of men, and among those men who pursue them only a paucity are any good at it. Most men are bros; they don’t have close friendships with women they aren’t banging. They have, at best, acquaintances of the opposite sex, beyond their girlfriends or wives.

What kind of man has lots of real female friends? Usually, the kind of man who has trouble making real male friends, or who has little desire to hang out with men. A select group of men do have real friendships with women, but these men, by virtue (or vice) of their talents with the ladies have difficulty building solid friendships with other men.

Men who are good at befriending women and bad at (or otherwise uninterested in) befriending other men fall into three identifiable categories.

1. The Latent Lover

The classic sneaky fucker, minus the malevolence. This guy is charming, challenging, and a pro at making women feel sexually alive. His MO is to flirt with every woman who passes the threshold of bangability. He loves the company of women because he genuinely loves the peculiar qualities of femaleness. Married, single, feminist, feminine… he seduces them all, though he may not necessarily have sex as a goal in mind. He loves the lip-licking, hair-tossing, heel-dangling, cheek-blushing, pupil-dilating, mannerism-mirroring reactions of women who delight in his dispensations.

As you can guess, the Latent Lover engenders envy and defensiveness in other men, particularly men whose women happily partake of the LL’s deftness at handling their hamsters. He may mean no harm, (although he sometimes does), but women’s submission to his graces threatens their watchmen. This dislike between mate guarders and smooth charmers is a two-way street; the Latent Lover is indifferent and often bored by the company of men, especially after 5pm. He prefers a life of adventure, and what’s more adventurous than navigating the alien terrain of women’s minds?

2. The Fun Chum

This guy is funny, upbeat and expert at syncing with women’s predilection for unseriousness. When things get tense, he’s the man that blows it open with a well-timed quip. What the fun chum lacks in a sexy vibe, he makes up with a commitment to social levity. He won’t generate any tingles, but women love to be around him because he takes their minds off of the constant intrasex backbiting that characterizes most female friendship rings.

The flaw in the Fun Chum is how quickly he annoys the shit out of other men. They think he acts like a fool. Or, worse, like a dancing monkey. He’s not romantically threatening, but he is unmanly in his quickness to resort to histrionics. He’s a man who takes more pleasure is making women laugh than in making other men comfortable with his presence. In small doses, he’s liked by everyone and a welcome spice to any party. In doses large enough to vault him to the center of attention, his accumulation of male enemies rapidly multiplies.

3. The Beta Supplicator

We all know this archetype. He’s got a lot of female friends for one reason only: he has trained their egos to be dependent on his incessant flattery and awesome ability to sympathize, sometimes to the point of tears. Some women — really cool bitches, usually — see through his act, but most enjoy their own little lickspittle to lavish them with the “you go grrl!” nostrums that they need to survive the endless judgment of a ruthless sexual market. And the Beta Supplicator is happy to indulge, because without his facility at vomiting a steady stream of nauseating unctuousness he would get no female attention at all, asexual or otherwise.

Naturally, the BS man is despised by other men, including BSers. His worst sin is not that he sucks up to women, as bad as that is, but that his suck-uppery is so blatantly ineffective and his motivations so transparent to men, if not to women. He’s a eunuch in practice, an anhedonic lump of indeterminate doughiness. A worm. A lapdog. A nasally herbschling. He has few real male friends who can stand his schtick. So why is his kind so numerous? Why do other men tolerate him? One, he’s no romantic threat, so most men find the effort to dislodge him from their women’s lives a bother not worth tackling. Two, the Beta Supplicator can occasionally serve a useful purpose as an emotional sponge who absorbs all the boring relationship talk that those women would otherwise dump on their jerky boyfriends. The BS boy is like the harem guard, except instead of guarding them from sexual predators they guard the harem king from dealing with the bitching and moaning of his concubines.

***

As archetypes, it should go without saying that plenty of exceptions exist. For instance, the company of socially savvy, “leader of men” alpha males is sought and enjoyed in nearly equal measure by other men and by women. And plenty of Latent Lovers and Fun Chums are socially adept enough to know where the romantic line is drawn and to know how to speak the language of men. The above archetypes are simply examples of men who are unusually good at befriending women while being noticeably less good at befriending men.

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